Joe Biden is an excellent example of ‘vulnerable’ leadership, says prominent social scientist Brené Brown. Here’s what that means, and how anyone can emulate the quality.

Brene Brown

Summary List Placement

One of President-elect Joe Biden’s greatest strengths as a leader is his vulnerability. 

And Brené Brown, a social scientist and leadership expert whose Ted Talk on vulnerability has more than 50 million views, thinks this characteristic is going to be crucial for Biden when he takes office in January. Brown is a research professor in social work at the University of Houston and has authored five #1 New York Times bestsellers, including “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” and “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.” She has also consulted companies from Pixar to IBM. 

“We’ve got to have leaders who know how to have hard conversations,” Brown told Business Insider. “They know how to lean into uncertainty. They don’t tap out of hard feedback, either giving it or receiving it. They do vulnerability, and they do it effectively and productively.” 

Vulnerability might not be the first trait associated with leaders. After all, conventional norms associate leaders with more “masculine” traits, like assertiveness or competitiveness. 

The president and president-elect provide quite the contrast in what vulnerable leadership looks like. 

Effective leaders “do vulnerability”

But after two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, Brown found that the best leaders are also the most vulnerable. Brown conducted her research using a method called grounded theory, where she conducted over 1,200 interviews to find repeated qualitative evidence on the nature of vulnerability and human connection. 

Vulnerable leadership is crucial for building trust and ensuring team success. In a 2017 study of over 27,000 employees, 63% of people who think their leaders openly share the challenges they’re facing would recommend the company as a good place to work. On the other hand, only 6% of employees whose leaders didn’t share company challenges would recommend their company. 

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Not unlike the leaders in the study, Biden has spoken publicly about many of the struggles in his life, from opening up about his speech impediment to the loss of his son, Beau.

In an Oct. 21 conversation with Biden on Brown’s podcast “Unlocking Us,” the now president-elect said that he trusts leaders who demonstrate empathy and vulnerability because they have “an idea that is generated in their gut, goes to their heart, and they have the intellectual capacity to articulate it.” 

Embracing weakness and being open to other opinions, Brown told Business Insider, are some of the most important traits of someone in power, be it in the White House or the C-suite.

2 types of leadership

Brown has been leading research in vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy for two decades now, and is the first researcher to have her own Netflix special, “Brené Brown: The Call to Courage.” In her new podcast “Dare to Lead,” Brown examines professional leadership and what it takes to be successful at work. 

This research has led her to find there are two distinct types of leaders: “power over,” or a type of power dominated by fear and intimidation, and “power to, power …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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